For a small body of water, the Newtown Creek and its inlet, the Dutch Kill, sure have a lot of bridges over it. Its not surprising of course, these have been working waterways for scores of years and are still lined with warehouses – crossing them was a matter of economic expediency, and since they’re relatively narrow, the cost of adding another bridge was never high, allowing for the construction of bridges very, close together.
Take for instance the Borden Avenue Bridge over the Dutch Kill (#60 on the McCarthy List). It lies less than a quarter mile from the Hunters Point Avenue Bridge, and cross the same body of water. If they were much closes together, they’d touch. Hunters Points Avenue bridge isn’t particularly exciting, but its downright fascinating compared to Borden Avenue. The only thing of note I can say about this bridge is that it sits adjacent to a really sketchy looking strip club. Strip club with a view of Dutch Kill? Classy.
Here’s a picture taken from the bridge of good friend and frequent runner partner Joe, and in the far distance, the Freedom tower.
Access to the bridge is self explanatory, take Borden avenue from 25th street to 30th street (or vice versa) and you’ll be on it.
Long Island City may be more well known now for condos than warehouses, but if you head east off the Pulaski Bridge the condos quickly fade to warehouses and sketchy looking strip clubs. This is where you’ll find the little Hunters Point Avenue Bridge (#19 on the McCarthy List), a little bridge which takes Hunters Point avenue over the Dutch Kill, a small inlet of the Newtown Creek.
Joe and I hit this one up last weekend. My favorite part is the sign that tells you not to go swimming.
Here’s my instagraming.
Access to the bridge is from (duh) continuing on Hunters Points Avenue from 27th St. to30th St. (or vice versa). True nerds may wish to note that this is one of the rarely seen single-leaf bascule drawbridge, meaning it raises on only one side!
When Phil was putting together his list of runnable bridges in New York, he wisely choose to put these two bridges together as a single entry (#11). Not much to report here really, two bridges, on grand street, over two sections of the terminus of the Newtown creek. The neighborhood is industrial headed leaning hipster, and the bridges are at steet level (i.e. no elevation gain to speak of). Doesn’t have quite the post-industrial gnarliness of the Greenpoint avenue bridge, but isn’t exactly pretty either.
Access is straight forward, just run along Grand street between Vandervoort and 47th street and you’ll hit them both.
Trying to get after these bridges while also trying to raise a two year can be a challenge. Right now, I’m going for some low hanging fruit within easy long run distance of my house. Today, it was out to hit a couple more of the bridges which cross the Newtown creek.
First up was this one, the Greenpoint Avenue bridge (# on the McCarthy List), a big four laner that takes you from industrial part of Greenpoint Brooklyn to the industrial park of Long Island City. No condos here, people, (at least not yet) its all salvage yards and storage facilities. To the east, you can see the bigger, more commonly run Pulaski bridge, to the west, the dreaded Kosciuszko, home to perpetual bumper to bumper traffic (and no pedestrian access).
Access to the Greenpoint Bridge from either direction is via… Greenpoint avenue. Easy to find, easy to run, the Greenpoint bridge takes you through areas runners rarely go to and over one of the most polluted waterways in America. Not to be missed!
The Madison Avenue Bridge is probably best known as the final bridge on the New York Marathon course. I’ve run over it three times – once in 2005 during my first New York Marathon, once in training for the race this year, and once during the race this year.
Madison Avenue connects Manhattan and the Bronx, crosses the Harlem river, and is one of those rare spots where the numbered streets in Manhattan and the Bronx line up. Pedestrian access to the bridge on the Bronx side is at 138th Street just after Grand Concourse. On the manhattan side, access is gained at 138th and 5th avenue.
For a bridge, Madison Avenue is pretty flat and forgiving. And by Mile 21 when you get here, believe me, you’re happy for a flat bridge.
Here’s a picture I took facing east, looking at the Third Avenue Bridge during a training run this fall.
You cross five bridges during the New York City Marathon – the Verrazano, the Pulaski, the Queensboro, the Willis Avenue, and the Madison Avenue. By the time you get to the Willis, if you’re like me, you’re hurting, but if you’ve got some sense of your surroundings left, you’ll notice it’s a pretty nice (and new!) bridge. The Willis Avenue Bridge connects Willis Ave. in the Bronx at E. 135th St. and Bruckner Blvd. with 1st Ave. in Manhattan at 125th St. It has a wide pedestrian walk way on the west side and provides excellent views of the Harlem river. I didn’t stop during the New York Marathon, but I did stop on a training run I took up there a couple of weeks before.
Entrance to the bridge from the Manhattan side is at the intersection 1st Ave and 125th. On the Bronx side, you enter the pedestrian pathway at 135th Street and Willis Avenue. This one is among the newest bridges in New York City. If you’re in upper Manhattan or the South Bronx its worth checking out, even if you’re not at Mile twenty of the New York Marathon.
More great information on the Willis Avenue Bridge can be found on Phil’s website.
I’m returning lately to the project of running the bridges of New York City. They’ll be much more on this project in the months to come. Today, I wanted to note one of the bridges I tagged recently — Bridge Number 1 on the McCarthy list, the Verrazano Narrows bridge.
Spanning New York Harbor from Staten Island to Brooklyn, the Verrazano Bridge is only runnable one day a year – Marathon Sunday* — and what a day it is. The Bridge makes up Mile 1 and some of mile 2 of the Marathon and represents the greatest elevation gain and loss you’ll have on the course. If you’re not feeling good and excited at this point of the race, you should just stop. There’s a long, long way to go.
I’ve run over the Verrazano twice, during the 2005 and 2015 marathons. I hope to run over the iconic bridge many more times.
Lining up at the base of the bridge with Wave 2 of the 2015 New York City Marathon
*It is also ridable on your bike only one day a year during the 5 borough bike tour